Israel’s deputy foreign minister confirmed Thursday, Aug. 15, that Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib would be declared “persona non grata” after Israeli officials held talks on the decision to deny them entry on the grounds that they promoted anti-Semitism.
According to The Times of Israel, Tzipi Hotovely announced, “We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel.”
On Wednesday, Israeli officials met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to decide whether the Minnesota and Michigan congresswomen should be denied entry because of their repeated support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, an anti-Semitic organization.
The announcement issued Thursday about the Israeli prime minister’s considerations came in the face of a planned visit to Israel starting Friday by the two Democratic congresswomen along with other U.S. representatives. According to The Times of Israel, Israel’s laws allow border authorities to refuse entry to supporters of boycott movements.
“The possibility exists that Israel will not allow the visit as currently planned (…) The professional and legal teams in the Prime Minister’s Office are still studying the material,” an Israeli diplomatic official quoted by The Times of Israel told reporters.
Until then, the entry of the two congresswomen has been an issue of debate and Democratic leaders and some Israeli groups based in the United States advocate not prohibiting their arrival in the country.
According to The Jerusalem Post, in July, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, emphasized that Israel would not prohibit the entry of congresswomen “out of respect for the U.S. Congress” and for “the great alliance” that Israel has with the American country.
For his part, President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Thursday: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
Omar proposed a resolution in early July that supports the right to boycott Israel, after comparing the Jewish state with the boycotts that the United States once made to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Omar’s measure was supported by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is the first U.S.-Palestinian legislator in Congress and had previously shown her support for a single-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.